I am very close to crippled. I can't believe how much my ankles hurt. Is there something special about D.C. concrete?
I took the Metro from Ronald Reagan International to the Mount Vernon Square station, which was only a couple of blocks from the Henley Park Hotel. But of course, I am not used to the peculiar system of grids, spokes, squares, and circles that is the D.C. road system. The flag A is where the hotel is:
The Metro station is on 7th St, on the right lower side of Mount Vernon Square. I was looking for Massachusetts Avenue--and when I walked north, I saw Mt. Vernon Place, but I didn't see Massachusetts Avenue (which essentially ceases to exist in Mount Vernon Square). After a few blocks of walking with my bag, in the rain (and not a "light rain," contrary to the forecast), I figured that I was lost. I looked at the AAA city map (which being a primitive technology, printed on paper, did not show the detail of the scalable Google map above), figured out I must have somehow walked past Massachusetts Avenue, and turned around.
This time I spotted Massachusetts Avenue, and started walking down it...but the street numbers were getting smaller, not larger. So I turned around, and walked back to Mount Vernon Square. This time I figured out that Massachusetts Avenue magically reappears on the other side of the square, and found the hotel pretty quickly. But by this point, I was pretty well soaked, and even my clothes in the duffle bag that was I carrying (to avoid having to check my bag) were damp.
The Henley Park Hotel is a charming historic hotel, built in 1918, but obviously modernized, without losing some of the antique details. Being right across 10th Street from the Cato Institute makes it a perfect location. (I want to thank Cato for being sympathetic to the absurd airline schedules that Boise has, and putting me up two nights. Otherwise, I would have had to get up at 3:30 AM Monday to get there in time, and even this would have been cutting it tight.)
I went looking for dinner after I finished taking a badly needed hot shower, and grabbing the loaner umbrella from my room (a very nice touch that puts a warm spot in my heart for the Henley's management). I was not keen on eating in the Henley Park Hotel's restaurant, because it looked incredibly expensive and pretentious, and that's not me. But there was very little that was in walking distance. There was an Indian restaurant on K street, in the 1100 block, but they were not open Sundays. There was a sandwich place called Potbelly (the name alone should make you run), but they were closed by the time I passed by. So I ended up eating in the Henley's pretentious restaurant, the Coeur de Lion. And yes, it was an expensive meal, but it was also darn impressive. (If anyone from Cato's accounting department is reading--don't worry, all the rest of the meals that I ate were cheap, even by Boise standards.)
It used to be said that the state bird of Hawaii is the building crane. Every time I go to D.C., that seems to be the case there as well. (What was it one of the Antifederalists warned would happen if we ratified the new constitution? All the wealth of America would be sucked into the federal city? Yeah.) Across Massachusetts Avenue from my hotel was this major construction project:
I'll have more to say in a day or two about my walks around D.C., along with some wry observations about the place.